In order to “make news” something must be…new, or weird, or unusual. It’s already assumed we know the old and usual – so news is the opposite of that. We read about outliers and changes happening in any given day. Anything sticking out as different is considered newsworthy.
So anti-war protesters protesting (yawn) gets little coverage. But old people in Tea Party rallies protesting Medicare and Social Security get a proverbial barrel full of ink. Because it’s weird…unusual.
The Tea Party is somewhat like the Temperance Movement – people marching for less. But it’s also like the Know Nothings, who organized against the scourge of Italian and Irish immigrants in the 1840s. These tea-fueled corporate-encouraged rallies resemble demonstrations during the Great Depression – with one big exception: Folks in the 1930s were demanding the government help the downtrodden…as opposed to demonizing the poor on poster board as parasites.
By all accounts the economy hit hard times because of deregulation – the government’s not chaperoning industry led to a boom and ultimately to a bust. Now there is a group calling for the government to free industry completely and do nothing…because the group is angry at the government for the economy…the economy that tanked because of government deregulation.
The Tea Party’s premise is like phoning someone you’re mad at because they won’t call you back and telling them never to call you again. That’ll show ‘em you aren’t crazy!
The de facto leader of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, is the wife of a well-known secessionist. She quit her gig as governor of a state which pays its residents to live there – at state which receives more federal money per capita than any other (for every $1.00 Alaskans pay in taxes, Alaska gets over $5 in federal money). Her message? She warns about work ethics, denounces the evils of “socialism” and gleefully touts guilt by association.
What’s getting attention now are Republicans not being in lockstep unity with each other. Very weird. Ronald Reagan proclaimed the Eleventh Commandment as, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” The GOP had been devout. But in this primary season we have seen Republicans pitted against other Republicans. Some Republicans won. Other Republicans lost. Of course, there were Democrats competing in primaries (yawn), but it wasn’t as interesting as Republicans bloodying each other because of those aforementioned weird rallies.
And to make it all the more notable – the GOP unity make-up sessions haven’t panned out. In the Delaware primary, mainstream GOP candidate Mike Castle lost to fringe to the lamestream Sarah Palin-backed GOP candidate for the Senate, Christine O’Donnell. Castle has yet to endorse his former opponent. In Tennessee, former state Republican Party chairwoman Robin Smith lost her bid for the 3rd Congressional District. She countered by refusing to attend the GOP unity breakfast for the winning candidate, Chuck Fleischmann. Florida Republican Charlie Crist and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski are running as independents for the Senate in their states’ general elections…against other Republicans.
Republicans support everything American and Republican – so in order to be against someone or something, it must be dubbed un-American or RINO (the ominous Republican in Name Only). This is tricky for self-identified Republicans who aren’t as adept at self-hatred as Democrats.
George W. Bush’s top advisor, Turd Blossom (AKA Karl Rove), now also a paid contributor at the “balanced” Fox News, came out against a Republican candidate. He said Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell has said some nutty things! He treated a fellow Republican with contempt he normally reserves for undercover CIA agents like Valerie Plame. The audacity!
In this unusual primary season, the kicker is the super-polarizing Palin. Yes, the hammer and screwdriver in the Dubya crack in the GOP is now the one calling for unity. The figure who divides Republicans on whether or not they like her – let alone if she’s qualified to be president – said to a crowd in Iowa last week, “It is time to unite. If the goal really is to take away the gavel from Pelosi and Reid and to stop the Obama agenda and stop the government agenda, then it is time to unite.”
The question is whether Republicans will say thanks but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere.